Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chicken, Chorizo, Spinach, Mushroom & Broccoli Pasta Bake

This is my take on Mac & Cheese (with a few extra ingredients!)
A one dish dinner for the whole family - nutritious enough for the 14 month old toddler and tasty enough for the hubby. Even my fussiest eater (Miss 6) liked it (I suspect it was the bacon topping that did it!). 
Out of all my Thermomix creations this is by far my family's favourite (if measured by how quickly it was demolished) and it even has half a kilo of vegetables in it! The added bonus (and to the relief of hubby) is that there is hardly any washing up. 

Ingredients - Topping
3 slices wholemeal bread
100g bacon
1/2 tsp paprika
15g olive oil

Ingredients - Filling
200g cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 onion, peeled and halved
20g olive oil
150g mushrooms
1/2 tstp freshly ground black pepper
400g milk
400g stock or 400g water + 1 tbsp of vegetable stock concentrate (EDC page 17)
200g dry pasta (spirals, elbows, macaroni or penne)
200g broccoli, cut into small florets
250g chicken thigh or breast, sliced thinly
1 chorizo sausage (approx 100g), cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
100g spinach, roughly chopped

Method
If using the oven for the final step, preheat oven to 200C.
1. If your cheese isn't grated, chop it into 2-3cm cubes, place in TM bowl and grate for 7 seconds on speed 8. Set aside.
2. Place all topping ingredients in TM bowl and chop for 4 seconds on speed 6. Set aside.
3. Place garlic and onion in TM bowl. Chop for 3 seconds on speed 7. Scrape down sides. 
4. Add olive oil and saute for 3 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 1.
5. Add mushrooms. Chop for 4 seconds on speed 4.
6. Add pepper, milk and stock. Cook for 8 minutes at 100C on reverse speed soft.
7. Add pasta and broccoli. Cook for 6 minutes at 100C on reverse speed soft.
8. Add chicken, chorizo and spinach. Cook for 3 minutes at 100C on reverse speed soft. Use spatula at the start to help incorporate and stir the meat and spinach into the sauce.
9. Place mixture into oven proof baking dish. Spread the top evenly with grated cheese and then the bacon/breadcrumb topping.
10. Place into preheated oven for 20 minutes until topping is golden and crispy, or place under a hot grill for 4 minutes (but keep an eye on it as can get burnt quite quickly!)


Variations: 
1) Eat it as a pasta dish without the cheese and topping. If so, at step 8 cook for a further 2 minutes until pasta is tender. 
2) Eat it without the topping and just melt the cheese over the top. 
3) Already have leftover cooked or roast chicken and/or steamed veg? Just add them in at the last step for 1 minute to warm through before putting in the baking dish. 

Substitutes: Try using cauliflower or pumpkin instead of broccoli; or ham or salami (or more bacon!) for the chorizo. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chocolate Crumble Cheesecake

Here's a recipe that combines two things that I love - Chocolate and Cheesecake! Perfect for the Thermomix as all three components can be made in it and you only have to wash it once.

Thank you CaffeIna for the recipe. Here's my Thermotalk version:

Ingredients - crumble topping
75g raw sugar
75g butter, cubed
150g plain flour
15g cocoa powder

Ingredients - crust 
100g raw sugar  
150g butter, cubed
1 egg
250g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
15g cocoa powder
pinch of salt

Ingredients - filling
150g raw sugar
100g butter
5 eggs at room temperature
500g ricotta

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line the bottom of a 23cm springform pan.
2. Make the topping first. Place sugar in TM bowl. Grind for 3 seconds on speed 9. Add remaining ingredients and mix for 10 seconds on speed 6 so that the mixture resembles chocolate breadcrumbs. Set aside
3. Make the crust next. Place the sugar in TM bowl. Grind for 3 seconds on speed 9. Add the remaining ingredients and mix for 15 seconds on speed 6. Press into springfom pan, ensuring it comes all the way up the sides. Use a small glass to help give you an evenly pressed base and sides.
4. And finally, make the filling. Place sugar in TM bowl. Grind for 3 seconds on speed 9. Add butter and cream for 2 minutes on speed 4. With the TM on speed 4, add the eggs one at a time until all incorporated. Add the ricotta and beat for 5 seconds on speed 5 to obtain a smooth creamy mixture.
5. Pour the filling into the crust. Top with the crumble and bake for about an hour or until the middle of the cheesecake stops looking wobbly.
6. Leave in tin until completely cool before removing sides of springform pan. Enjoy!



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baby & Toddler Meals

At its incarnation (some 30 years ago) the Thermomix was purely a baby food maker (the "Bimbi"), and what has made me love my Thermomix even more (if that is even possible) is how much I have enjoyed using it to cook for my baby.

So this post is dedicated to baby recipes (which with a bit of salt and a little less pulverising can actually be converted to yummy nutritious adult comfort food!).

Purees
  • for Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Carrot - place 300g of peeled and roughly chopped veg into TM bowl. Chop on speed 6 for 5 seconds. Cook for 10 minutes at 100C on speed 2. Then, if necessary, puree to desired consistency on speed 7.
  • for Potato - place 300g of peeled and roughly chopped potato into TM bowl with 100g water or milk. Cook for 10-15 minutes at 100C on speed 1. Then, if necessary, mash to desired consistency on speed 3-4 (no higher than this otherwise it will become gluey).
  • for Broccoli, Cauliflower - place 300g of washed florets into TM bowl. Chop for 5 seconds on speed 5. Add 50g water. Cook for 7 minutes at 100C on speed 2. Then, if necessary, puree to desired consistency on speed 8. 
  • for Apple, Pear - place 300g of peeled or unpeeled, seeded and quartered fruit into TM bowl. Chop for 10 seconds on speed 5. Cook for 8 minutes at 90C on speed 4. Puree to desired consistency on speed 8.

Chicken and vegetable pasta
1. Place 1/2 onion and 1 garlic clove in TM bowl and chop for 3 seconds on speed 7.
2. Add 400g vegetables. If they are hard vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, celery broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, parsnip put them in first and chop for 3 seconds on speed 7. Then add the soft vegetables (eg zucchini, mushroom, capsicum) and chop for 3 seconds on speed 5. Caution - only add small amounts of strong tasting vegetables like celery, turnip, parsnip and green capsicum.
4. Add 30g olive oil and saute for 7 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 1.
5. Add 200g chopped tomatoes, 600g water or chicken stock (see EDC p18), 100g full cream milk, 200g chicken fillet (cut into 4 pieces) and a handful of washed herbs (eg parsley, sage, thyme, basil).
6. Cook for 10 minutes at 100C on reverse speed slow with the MC inclined to prevent spitting.
7. Remove cooked chicken and set aside.
8. Add 200g pasta shells and cook for 15 minutes at 100C on reverse speed soft or until the pasta is sufficiently soft.
9. If you wish, add up to 100g quick cooking vegetables like spinach, corn kernels, peas, sliced beans in the last 7 minutes of cooking.
10. Blend on speed 4 to desired consistency with the aid of the spatula, then set aside into large bowl or Thermoserver.
11. Place cooked chicken pieces back into TM bowl and shred on reverse speed 4 for 5 seconds or until sufficiently well shredded. 
12. Combine shredded chicken with pasta with the aid of the spatula.
13. Serve and watch your baby/toddler gobble it up!
Variation for adults: Only cook pasta (see para 8 above) for 10 minutes and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Beef and vegetable risotto
1. Place 100g rump in TM bowl. Set dial to closed lid position, then press Turbo twice until beef is minced. Set aside
2. Place 1/2 onion and 1 garlic clove in TM bowl and chop for 3 seconds on speed 7.
3. Add 20g olive oil and saute for 2 minutes at Varoma temperature speed 1.
4. Add minced beef and saute for a further 3 minutes at Varoma temperature speed 1.
5. Insert butterfly in TM bowl and add 160g washed long or medium grain rice. Saute for 1 minute on reverse speed soft.
6. Add 650g water or chicken or beef stock (see EDC p18), 400g diced vegetables (eg  carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin, mushrooms, zucchini, red capsicum) (the harder the vegetable, the smaller the dice)
7. Cook for 30 minutes at 100C on reverse speed soft or until rice and vegetables are sufficiently soft.
8. Remove butterfly and then blend to desired consistency on speed 4 with the aid of the spatula.
Flavour tip: Using leftover unsalted roast vegetables (eg carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin, onion) will greatly enhance the flavour profile of this risotto.
Variation for adults: Only cook rice (see para 7 above) for 15-17 minutes until just tender and add salt, parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Leftover tip: Freeze individual portions for quick and easy feeds. When reheating add a little bit of extra water as the pasta/rice soaks up a lot of moisture when left to sit.